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Mercedes-Benz Vans enlists Henry Rollins for campaign exploring 'toughness'

Mercedes-Benz Vans has enlisted iconic punk rocker Henry Rollins for a new campaign that challenges the ‘tough’ stereotypes associated with van owners.

The Tough Conversations campaign sees rocker, actor, radio host, writer, and social commentator Rollins take a road trip across Australia to uncover what toughness means to average Australians.

The campaign, which includes a podcast series, radio partnership, PR, eDMs, social and online content, as well as a one-hour TV documentary, aims to explore the evolution of toughness that is associated with the ute category of vehicles and challenge the stereotypes.

Mercedes-Benz aims to connect with “a new type of ute driver” and reflect the values of a more progressive audience.

Diane Tarr, chief executive and managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia & New Zealand, said the campaign was an opportunity to celebrate a modern kind of toughness.

“To launch the X-Class in a mature ute market like Australia, we knew we needed to do something different to get Australians to understand that the X-Class stands for something more than the stereotypical toughness.”

Tarr said Rollins was the perfect fit for the campaign. “He is a true embodiment of the evolution of tough and that makes him the perfect person to lead these conversations. He also has an ability like nobody else to get to the heart of a conversation, and to delve deep.”

The campaign was created by The Royals. The Royals creative partner Nick Cummins said “Many Australians are sick of the outdated stereotype of what tough means – hiding your emotions or working out at the gym till something bursts.

“To explore what tough really means to Australians today we turned to Henry Rollins – a man who has evolved from a head-butting, fist-fighting frontman to an intellectual touring the world with his Spoken Word concerts, challenging outdated beliefs and traditions. Henry has a curious mind and a way of drawing stories out of all kinds of people that have led to an intriguing exploration, and, some really tough conversations.”

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